Once upon a time, long long ago, Al had a job working in a photoshop. Back in those days, people carried special equipment called “a camera” that was not an app and that was used to capture images on small strips of chemically-treated plastic. Those strips of plastic had to be taken to a “photoshop” that used more chemicals to turn them into large squares of plastic that you could store in a book. It took several days before you could see them, and you couldn’t delete them until AFTER you paid for them and…where was I? Right.
Al’s boss at the photoshop was an entrepreneur named Alex who catered to professional photographers and magazines. Back in those days, magazines were packages of flattened sawdust that…oh, never mind. At any rate, Al overheard his boss having an animated phone call with a client. The client wanted his photos now, but needed to pay later. The one-sided conversation heard by Al went like this.
“Uh huh. Um. Uh huh. But the money, my friend? The money? Where’s the money?”
That, in a nutshell, is the question we should all be asking.
Wall Street. Wall Street has the money and that’s not going to change. Never has, probably never will.
Banks. They’ve got your money, and that’s not going to change, either.
You and people like you. Well, that will depend on where you live and what you do. If you live here, in New York City, you’ll probably be able to get a job if you get some training first. We’ve got businesses, and they need to hire people who know what they’re doing. Other cities will need skilled, trained workers too. Factories? Those jobs will continue to go to the robots. Ditto with most farming.
And here’s the fourth piece of the pie: Trump and his friends. Trump will use his newfound public office to suck up as much wealth, influence, and power as he can. People who help him will get money and power, too. People who criticize this will be labeled as enemies, and this will hurt their money-making abilities.
Read it? Good.
The picture of corruption, power trading, cronyism, payola, and favor bargaining painted by this author is exactly what New York City was like in the 1970s and 80s. The disparity between rich and poor, the knowledge of who to pay to get something done, the culture of
“three men in a room” – we’ve seen it all before. Trump learned it here first. He’s a master at it, because New York taught him so well. In those days, we worshipped mafia dons. We knew that health dept. ratings of “D” meant someone didn’t pay the right bribe, and that a rating of “A” didn’t mean you wouldn’t get food poisoning. We knew you could get your name pulled out the jury duty system permanently if you knew someone who knew someone who knew someone.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending corruption. I know how to navigate it, on a small, personal level, but I also know the cost of corruption. A city that runs on corruption is like a horse that runs on Skittles : it’s just not a good idea. Tax dollars don’t go to the public good: roads are terrible, trains don’t run, schools close. If it gets too bad, businesses leave and take the talent with them: and if you can’t attract the young, the sharp, and the educated, you’re in trouble. You’re stuck with the old, the dull, and the ignorant.
New York City survived those bad old days, and went on to prosper. I hope the nation as a whole will survive and prosper, too. It’s up to all of us to ask that one simple question of our representatives: “But the money, my friend. The money.”
Just so you know, here’s the money.